Selfology: A new Wellbeing curriculum for the UK education system

By Aliyah Abdullahi

Thu, Jul 01, 21

A London Student reflects on her experience of States of Mind's new Selfology curriculum.

Aliyah, a 17 year old student from a London college, reflects on her experience of being part of States of Mind’s Selfology programme and becoming one of States of Mind’s first student facilitators.

My name is Aliyah Abdullahi and I’m a current year 12 student. I am greatly honoured to have had the chance to both be a student in the States of Mind Selfology course and then take on the role of an independent facilitator. It was the first course I had ever entered in that there was some sort of fluidity, where the learner had an opportunity to contribute and had the chance to be heard.

This is one of the key things that makes States of Mind’s work so critical, because it values that no experience is the same and respects that nobody’s experience should ever be undervalued. It almost felt like each and every session was personalised to the learner.

The Selfology Programme backs away from the traditional rigid way of learning and is built on experience not just theory.

We are often told things, not ever being given the chance tell our stories and give proactive input. This is what makes this course a necessary guide for all adolescents around the UK and the all over the world.

Wellbeing can seem like a quite redundant topic to learn about, but it’s more important than ever. Transitioning from secondary school to sixth form or college to even further education, students never get a break to re-coordinate themselves. Time starts to blur under pressure and with it we can lose track of well-being and not notice the changes within our innermost selves. This can have damaging effect both physically and mentally.

The UK curriculum aims to teach us many things but the education we need (self-development and emotion/mental literacy) is what this system deprives us of most.

Teens often aren’t often taken as seriously as they should, and this can be extremely detrimental when we are finally responsible for our own decisions. A lot of us seek validation in others but rarely ever have trust in ourselves.

To grow up into our ideal selves we first need to be self-aware and this requires you to detach from the expectations made for us and redefine it to fit in your true persona, not the version of yourself that is manufactured by the education system.

Adulthood isn’t something we just grow up into, it is a conscious process that can begin as early as childhood. This is one thing the education system time and time again fails to acknowledge. To compensate for this, we need spaces where we can fill in these gaps and the States of Mind program perfectly provides this.

We need to stop conforming to society and start facing reality. Mental health in a greatly undermined issue despite being greatly immanent. I don’t really like using the word ‘issue’ as makes it seem like mental health is a problem when it’s not always. In my opinion I think we need to start looking at mental health in a different more positive light.

Instead of thinking of it as a problem no longer relevant once solved, improving mental wellbeing is a constant process. We should reflect on our difficulties (and achievements) and think about how we can use these individual experiences to create unique strengths.

This course for me had a role aimed at finding heroes within ourselves and giving us the push to start living our true potential.

I think everyone has their own mental superpower, for me I think it’s seeing the value of things and being optimistic, but this was held back by the fear of taking control and some anxiety I had, related speaking up.

The chance to be a Wellbeing Ambassador had come to me after a difficult time and as a sort of challenge, I made a resolution to stop allowing time to pass me by and to start to leave a mark in this world. So I took a small leap of faith and I took this opportunity, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my 16 years of living and well you can tell that I had been really inspired by it because I took the strengths and knowledge I gained to run the programme for students in my school.

Running the wellbeing sessions is a very different to being taught it. In one way it was a bit more nerve-wracking experience to begin. However, this experience was invaluable to me because it provides secondary perspectives. Witnessing the personal development of others overtime was extremely uplifting and mind changing.

One of the key responses I had heard from a classmate in one the earlier wellbeing sessions is that ‘we don’t have time for self-reflection’ and that this is partly because ‘we don’t make time for it’. Because of moments such as this I strongly advocate for mental health and wellbeing education. We should not shy away to from discussing these aspects and start using the knowledge of mental health to benefit others.

Everyone has role in planting seeds of necessary change, which may seem small at first, but can grow big and beautiful with the little nurture of confidence and time. Taking part in the Selfology programme is an important example of planting change for the future. It’s may seem be small and inconsequential at first, but the positive impact it could have is endless.

To find out more about Selfology, visit